Monday, November 28, 2016

7 down + kim + beth

7 is done.

bloodwork was good today (thank you liver and kidneys) and so we were a go for the infusion.

we talked about the side effects and how some remain the same (absolutely dry mouth) and some continue to increase (fatigue, joint aches). the joint aches have definitely kicked up a notch or two in the last couple of weeks. it takes me a bit longer to get moving after i have been sitting and sleeping has started to be an issue. i wake up multiple times during the night because my hips/shoulders/wrists hurt. so i am starting to have more interrupted sleep which doesn't help the fatigue. a vicious little circle these drugs cause.

this morning was the first time that i couldn't do something that i wanted to do. i couldn't lift a tea mug to put it in the microwave. i filled the cup up with water, walked over to heat it up like i do every morning, and i could not lift the cup up into the microwave because my wrist was hurting so bad. that was a tough moment, i am not going to pretend it wasn't. but luckily my left wrist wasn't as bad and so i got the mission accomplished. so we will see what this night and tomorrow morning brings. my oncologist said that if the pain gets too bad (as it can for patients on this drug) then we can go back on prednisone for a bit to help alleviate the issue. i can tell you right now that i will do everything i can to not go back on the steroids. but as i am always reminded, all of these things aren't up to me and the cancer fates like to sometimes have their say. but, i will keep doing everything i can to avoid that, and the cards will play out as they will just like they always do.

in better news, i got my biopsy results today and the lump on my leg (which is still there) is benign. whew. so thankful for that. my derm will explain to me on friday more about the mass and what it is, have i said how much i love my derm? that man is the best. i pretty much feel like everyone should drive to bellevue to have him be their derm. he is just that good.

i am so damn thankful for my doctors, i do not know (and don't even want to think about) what i would do without them. they can never, ever retire. that i know for sure.

thanks for all of the good thoughts and love for kim today, we really appreciated it. her appointment with her surgeon went well and she is scheduled for an MRI on friday. the results of that will help to inform exactly what may need to happen during surgery. she will meet with the surgeon next week to talk more about surgery and the timing. so keep sending the mojo and prayers.

i also need to ask for your mojo and prayers for my friend beth, this week is her 6 month check up for scans. she has scans on wednesday and she gets the results on friday. now i know, and you know, that these results are going to be totally clean. but just because i like extra insurance (kind of like the kind i pay for every time i book a trip these days), i am calling all of you reinforcements in for your mojo goodness so we can make sure that cancer knows to get the hell out of seattle and not mess with beth.

thank you as always for all of the support for me, and for these fighters that i love. the ones like beth that you have followed for years now, and the ones whose stories you are just beginning to know like kim.

have a good tuesday peeps, make it a really good one. xo

Sunday, November 27, 2016

for kim

this is my sister-in-law kim.

she has been with my brother since i was a kid, so basically i don't remember what it was like to not have her in our family - and so i think of her as a sister and ditched that "in-law" part a long time ago.

on wednesday kim was diagnosed with breast cancer.

and again, our world stopped turning.

as soon as i heard her voice on the phone, i knew something was very, very wrong.

and through the tears were the details of what we know and what we don't know at this point.

beyond the details we don't yet know about all of the next steps, here are some others things i don't know.

i don't know why the fates chose her.

i don't know why our family seems to have the hits keep coming one after another.

i don't know why the fates think that my parents should have two of their kids fighting cancer at the same time.

i don't know why they feel that she should have to take on this fight.

i don't know why my brother and my niece and nephew (and all of her loved ones) should have to watch her take on this fight.

i don't know why someone else i love has to get this news. i am supposed to be taking the cancer card for my team, and each time someone else i love gets this news i just get more and more angry. and sad. because i don't want anyone i love to go through this fight, and i can't seem to protect everyone i love regardless of how damn hard i fight.

i don't know why the fates are so damn cruel.

but here is what i do now.

i know that kim is stronger than she probably feels like she is right now.

i know that she will dig as deep as she needs to in order to fight this.

i know that she is going to be surrounded by more love than she can imagine and she will have love by her side every step of the way.

i know that my family will circle in and move forward like we always do, we just need time to process the shock and get our legs under us.

i know she will kick cancer's ass, because her and i have already made a pact, we both fight for as long as it takes.

on monday at 12 she meets with the surgeon. we are so thankful that they are able to get her in to to see the surgeon so quickly.

please send your love, vibes, mojo, prayers and anything else you've got to kim.

while she is in her appointment, i will be in my infusion appointment if my bloodwork comes back ok.

so tomorrow we both fight at the same time, although frankly, i think that we will both be fighting at the same time from this point on regardless of whether we are in appointments.

i still have not heard back on my lump biopsy on my leg, hoping to hear monday or tuesday.

thanks for all of the love and good thoughts.

we need them.

anywhere we fight, you fight. xo

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


this guy turns 38 day on thursday.

i went back tonight and read through this post.

i wrote those words over 5 years ago.

so much has happened and changed between now and then.

but one thing remains the same.

we are still sticking this life out together, even though for some reason we seem to have had to take more than our fair share of blows through these years.

but when we get knocked down, we always find our way back on our feet.

and we always keep going.

so on this day, i am super thankful that we get to celebrate his 38th birthday together with our girl.

another milestone together.

i love that.

and...i kind of love him...even though he is pretty much 40 years old;)

Monday, November 14, 2016

long day

today was a long one.

i forgot to put on my numbing cream this morning and so getting the injection of litocaine was a little more painful that normal. but not too bad. but just enough discomfort that i won't forget next time.

my bloodwork was looking good -- all my organ functions are still in the normal range. super happy about that. so treatment was a go.

we talked about my side effects and i will stay on the diuretics as they seem to be helping with the swelling. we talked about my joint aches increasing and developing arthritis which can be a side effect of this treatment. which i knew when we started. but hopefully that isn't what is starting to happen and my joint aches don't get to the point that i am not able to do normal things. right now it is just uncomfortable due to my shoulders/hips/legs being so achy, but i can function - i went running yesterday so i can do it. it just makes everything a little bit harder. but i am used to harder.

regarding my leg, the lump seems to be a bit bigger so my oncologist wants me to see my dermatologist. i will see him on friday. i would guess that we will do a biopsy on friday, and i would guess that it will be a large one. since is on my lower leg, i hope that the amount of stitches won't prevent me from running. but like with everything, we shall see.

my infusion went normally and was about the typical 2 hour process.

after the infusion, i changed from my sweats and hoodie to work clothes. i had a work meeting that couldn't be scheduled on another day and i couldn't miss it. so barrett and i went and got some lunch and then i headed to the meeting that i had to lead. it was hard to concentrate and i was so tired, but my friend who was in the meeting assured me that no one would have had a clue that i had just come from cancer treatment (and i choose to believe she is telling me the truth;)).

after that we picked up malena and headed home. i kept an appointment for a hot sauna and we had a low key night.

i had to get ready for my meeting so i didn't get to sleep during the infusion. so today has been a really long day and i am so tired and my body hurts.

it was a day full of changing roles. being a mom and getting her lunch packed and getting her to school. being a cancer patient and getting an iv in my port, getting poked and prodded. hearing the hum of the infusion machine for an hour. talking about side effects, biopsies, liver counts, potassium counts, heart rates, fatigue. being a work professional and leading a meeting with my client. being a friend while on the phone with one of my best girls. then back to being a mom and wrapping up our day with homework and the routines of our weeks.

so off to bed i go. 

i hope that your mondays were good ones.

i got another infusion and another shot at kicking the tumors where it hurts.

so that makes for a good day for me.

my girl turns 8 this week, and my guy turns 38.

all the motivation i need to consider today a good day.

thanks for all the love and support.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

and there is still a hell of a lot of fighting to be done. xo


Sunday, November 13, 2016


well here we go.

another treatment day.


we will also get confirmation on what we will do, if anything, about my leg. based on the ultrasound results, my oncologist wanted to wait and see. i will talk with him tomorrow about whether it makes sense to have my derm take a look and potentially biopsy that spot. since the ultrasound indicated it wasn't a mass (and therefore likely not a tumor) that is a relief. but i don't like feeling the lump in my leg so i think that i would just prefer to get it out. but we will see what he says tomorrow and go from there.

the side effects continue on. this week my joints are really sore so not sure if that is something that now will be ongoing as a side effect or just a related effect to this cold that i can't seem to kick. the swelling, dry mouth, muscle spasms continue. the fatigue continues to increase but that is to be expected as i take more doses.

i hope that you all had good weekends. ours was good. saw "trolls" and loved it. had camp outs. sat in our hot tub. i had a sauna appointment. read my current book. tickle fights. shopping with malena. lunch at one of our favorite spots. swim lessons. a friend's birthday party. celebrating a friends birthday at one of our favorite breakfast spots. malena and i trying out a new s'mores recipe we made up and cracking ourselves up while we did it. hugs and some laughter. it was a good one.

happy monday all, i will let you know how the day goes.

anywhere i fight, you fight.

#6 we are coming for you. xo

Thursday, November 3, 2016


this is going to be a short one because my bed is screaming for me.

the ultrasound tech told me that he didn't see any masses or blood clots in my leg. he sent the results to my oncologist who will call me with the results.

but it was good to know that the tech didn't see anything.

his name is tom and he has been my ultrasound tech through all these years.

he is a kind man and i really appreciated him giving me his read on what he was seeing.

so i will definitely sleep a little bit better tonight.

that is for sure.

thanks for all of the good thoughts and love this week, as always.

it means the world to us.

happy friday peeps. the weekend is here.


enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

next steps

since yesterday was my mom's birthday and it was halloween, i didn't have time to get back on the computer last night so i thought i would give a little more info on how yesterday went.

when we got to scca and i went to talk to my scheduler about timing on a counseling appointment i had, she let me know that my counselor is no longer working at scca.

that was a total blow that i didn't see coming.

at all.

i had been going to my counselor for probably the last year. she was part of my team, and i really appreciated that i was able to talk with her on a regular basis. for me, having someone to talk to outside of family and friends is important. it is part of the lifeline for me in finding my way through this fight as a mom/wife/daughter/daughter -in-law/sister/aunt/friend/cousin/boss/peer...the list goes on and on. because while i am all of those roles, i am also the cancer patient. i am the one going through the poking and the proding, the muscle aches, the fatigue, the pain, the exhaustion...and that is just the physical stuff, which in many ways doesn't even compare to all of the emotional stuff. so she was a neutral party and didn't have stakes in how i felt or what i would say. i could just talk and cry and say whatever i felt at that particular moment, and she took it all in. and gave me encouragement along the way.

so to have no wrap up, or heads-up that it was coming, is hard.

i lost one of my team members and that is really tough.

i could see the counselor that is taking her patients, but to be honest, i feel like i need some time to grieve. it is a loss for me. and i really don't want to start over with someone new. i don't want to walk them through all of the background. i don't want them to have to get to know me and my story. i just don't have the energy to do that right now.

maybe with some time, i will feel like diving back in again.

following that news, we got called back for the results.

as i wrote in the update yesterday, the tumors have not changed in size. which honestly was  a blow. i had wanted to see some progress from the last two months of treatment, i wanted to know that it was working. but i was thankful that they tumors had not grown  and that there were no new tumors (worst case scenario).

so we talked and weighed the options. i could start the second drug now.  that comes with the risk that my liver goes into failure again, i have to stop all treatment, and go back on steroids.

sometimes the drug i am on has a delayed effect, meaning it could be working but it will take longer for the progress to kick in. it could be that this drug i am on is not going to help me. we really don't know which of those two scenarios it will be.

so it was really my decision to make, but i also had to consider the holidays are coming up. if i go on the second drug, not only could it make my organs not cooperate, but it could also introduce other side effects than the ones i currently am dealing with. and as my oncologist always says, quality of life is just as important as the medical statistics.

and i really want to be able to enjoy the holidays with my family.

so, we decided to go four more rounds with the current treatment and do scans again at the end of december. if the tumors have not decreased in size, i will start the second drug at the beginning of january and will take on whatever comes from that.

but if all keeps going as it is now, i will have a good holiday season. the current list of side effects aren't fun, but they won't prevent me from having fun. i couldn't know for sure that i could say the same for the second drug.

so in the end, that was the decision that we made. definitely not an easy one. of course i wonder if this drug is working, and if it isn't, whether i would be better off to start that second drug now so it can start working.

but there are never easy answers. there are never answers that we know will be the right answers.

i can only go with my gut.

and let's hope it is right.

oh, and the lump. saturday night i found a lump in the lower half of my left leg. my oncologist felt it yesterday and decided we need to do an ultrasound. it could be something going on with a blood vessel, we hope it isn't a tumor. i will do the ultrasound on thursday afternoon and my oncologist will call me with the results. so one more thing to worry about, and i will say that being able to feel it is super unnerving, whatever it might be. so, i am hoping for good news that is not melanoma and we can get it taken care of. fingers (and obviously toes) are crossed.

well, i am so tired it is unbelievable, and my brother is going to be all over me tomorrow for this post going out after 10pm (laura h -- i saw your note in the card you sent mom about how it makes you laugh that stevie is my bedtime police;)), so i am going to hit the hay.

goodnight peeps.

happy wednesday.

hope it is a great one for you.